Saturday, March 10, 2012

Woman teacher suspended after colleagues 'find footage of her moonlighting as a porn star'

It's not illegal and she does it in her own time so it's hard to see why she should be fired

A teacher has been suspended from her job after she was allegedly discovered starring in a 'hardcore pornography' by students at her school. Stacie Halas, 31, who teaches science at Richard B Haydock Intermediate School in Oxnard, California, but has allegedly been put on paid administrative leave while officials decide her fate.

Officials at the school sent a letter out to parents telling them to monitor their child's internet usage and they were urged at school not to search porn sites for videos which may star the teacher.

The school held a meeting last night so parents could come and voice their concerns. But not one parent with a student at the school showed up to the meeting, CBS reported.

Though it has not been confirmed, Jeff Chancer, Oxnard School District superintendent, said that an office worker at the school believes the teacher is the one seen in the videos. He said: 'Maybe it's not a crime as far as the penal code is concerned, but we feel it's a crime as far as moral turpitude is concerned.'

The letter to parents stated: 'It has been alleged that one of our teachers is depicted in at least one pornographic video and possibly others on the Internet. 'We are asking teachers to discourage the children from searching for and/or visiting these inappropriate sites.

'We ask that you be particularly vigilant over the next few days with respect to the Internet content being accessed by your child on his or her telephone or other Internet-ready device.'

The California Education Code outlines teacher employment conditions that could lead to discipline or termination, Mr Chancer said. 'We’re trying to determine if there’s a nexus on what she does on her own time and what she does in the classroom,' he told the Smoking Gun.

He confirmed he had seen parts of one video after rumors started sweeping the school last week and said it was 'hardcore pornography'.

Halas could face disciplinary action including losing her job.


British University access watchdog 'should be abolished', says peer

Leading universities should select students on merit without fear of appearing elitist, one of Britain’s top lawyers warned today.

Institutions should resist tailoring admissions to recruit students from disadvantaged backgrounds amid fears that crude targets can damage standards, according to Baroness Deech, chairman of the Bar Standards Board.

She said that showing preference towards particular groups of students was the “hallmark of totalitarian regimes” over the last 100 years.

Lady Deech, the former principal of St Anne’s College, Oxford, called for the abolition of the Office for Fair Access, which was set up by Labour to ensure poor students were not put off higher education.

She also said universities should use the courts to protect their independence.

Currently, each university in England is obliged to set admissions targets designed to increase the number of places for students from deprived backgrounds, state schools or areas with a poor record of going on to university in exchange for the right to charge up to £9,000 in tuition fees.

Last month, Prof Les Ebdon, the incoming head of OFFA, pledged to subject universities to heavy penalties for failing to hit their benchmarks.

But writing in Times Higher Education magazine, Lady Deech said: “In considering the make-up of university students, there should be no place for talk of ‘over-representation’ or ‘under-representation’, any more than there should be when considering the make-up of the Cabinet or Olympic teams.”

She compared the use of admissions targets to “quotas” imposed on schools and colleges by China during the Cultural Revolution and Eastern European states in the Cold War. “Historically, restrictions against and preferences towards particular groups of students have been the hallmark of totalitarian regimes,” she said.

“They had in common the practice of handicapping the children of the intelligentsia in university admissions and jobs, and favouring the children of the ‘peasants’ and the ‘workers’.”

Lady Deech, a crossbench peer, insisted that universities had a duty to use outreach programmes to aid the poor and help boost social mobility – but not through admissions targets.

She said schools and families remained the biggest barrier to leading universities, adding: “There are too many teachers who are anti-elitism and who discourage pupils from aspiring to enter top universities, and there are too many students who choose a local university so as to remain at home or who have families that discourage their ambitions.”

Lady Deech called for universities to treat OFFA “with resistance”, saying they should “press for its abolition”.

But Sir Martin Harris, the current director of fair access, said the comments displayed a “misunderstanding about how OFFA actually works with universities to help them achieve their access aims”.

“We allow universities a great deal of autonomy in how they approach improving access, allowing them to set their own access targets in line with their access plans,” he said. “Universities spend significant sums of money on access measures – over £390m of their additional fee income according to our most recent monitoring – and it’s only right and natural that they should want to have ways of measuring their progress and evaluating what is working best.

“OFFA has always been clear that raising aspirations and attainment among school pupils from an early age is critical to giving everyone with the potential to benefit from higher education the opportunity to do so.

“However, universities have an important role to play in this and, quite rightly, there is not a university in the country that feels they should duck this responsibility.”


Australia: Apartheid not the answer for Aboriginal (black) schooling

Sara Hudson

Koori schools in Victoria are a prime example of how throwing money at a problem is ineffective. According to The Age, the Victorian government is wasting millions of dollars on schools with tiny enrolments, abysmal attendance rates, and poor academic performance.

Initial findings of an independent review of the schools are due to be presented to the Victorian Department of Education on 26 March. However, it shouldn’t take a review to figure out the concept is flawed and does not provide value for money or a decent education.

The four Koori schools in Victoria (in Glenroy, Morwell, Swan Hill and Mildura) receive $3.9 million in funding a year even though they educate less than 1% of Indigenous students in government schools. The total enrolment in all four schools was only 65 students in 2011. Ballerrt Mooroop College was recently closed by the education department: The school was receiving more than $1 million in funding and employed 13 staff despite having only one full-time student!

Funding for each student in these schools was among the highest in Victoria, with one school, Woolum Bellum College in Morwell, receiving more government funding per student than any other school in the state. According to the My School website, the school received $82,277 per student, eight times the state average of $10,946 per student.

At the same time, student attendance rates in the Koori schools languish between 44% and 64%. Two Rivers College, the only Koori school to post its NAPLAN results on My School, performed substantially below the national average in all categories.

Clearly, taxpayer dollars are being wasted on providing separatist schooling for a few Aboriginal children in Victoria rather than giving more resources to help disadvantaged Indigenous students in mainstream schools.

Indeed, Chris Sarra made the same recommendation in 2009 in a report on the Koori education system. But the state education department ignored Sarra’s advice and spent another three years wasting public funds propping up failing Koori schools.

How long will it take the Victorian Department of Education to realise that separate is never equal?

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 9 March. Enquiries to Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

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